Best solar companies of 2022


Whether You look do something good for the environment, to save money or rely a little less on your usefulness, 2022 could be your year go solar. The federal investment tax credit will still return 26% of the cost of your solar system to you on your taxes, and local incentives (like net metering) are still strong, although there are efforts to roll them back.

Most of the United States faces a high risk of failure this summer, thanks to increased demand due to high temperatures and dwindling hydropower supplies due to ongoing droughts in the west. Climate change should make the network less reliable. Solar panels with the ability to temporarily disconnect from the grid can keep lights on during a power outage.

Solar panels, however, represent a significant investment, not to mention a decision that requires careful thought and research. Below are my picks for the best solar companies by a few different metrics. However, with a purchase as large as solar panels, don’t let this list be your only step. Solar panel manufacturers, because their products require time-consuming and professional installation, are tested a little differently than other categories on CNET.

This list and the reviews it is based on are not based on any practical test. There is no feasible way to do hands-on testing of the purchase process, installation, or a home solar panel array after it has been installed. Instead, these solar company reviews rely on interviews with company spokespersons, publicly available data, and trend analysis (like solar panel prices). Although the reviews are as thorough as possible, the nature of the product means that there are some limitations compared to another category like portable power stations.

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This best list is based on national and notable installers of solar panels (mainly rooftops). As we post reviews of other companies, this best list will be updated to reflect our current top picks. Solar companies were rated based on the variety and quality of equipment and products they offered, their stated warranties, and their apparent commitments to customer service. (Customer service is hard to pin down and therefore represents a smaller part of the score, even though it is an important part of the buying process.)

If you are looking for a solar panel installer, be sure to get multiple quotes, including from local installers whenever possible. The specifics of a solar panel can change depending on the shape and angle of a given roof or the energy consumption and habits of a given family. Solar can be a great investment, but requires you to do your own research.

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ADT Solar is, in some ways, a relative newcomer after the home security company bought and renamed Sunpro Solar. It offers solar panels with 25-year warranties and a price match guarantee. Its advertised options for inverters and batteries are also highly rated and offer a choice that sets it apart from some other installers. It also had one of the highest ratings for customer service from the Better Business Bureau (businesses pay to be rated by the BBB). ADT also offers roofing as a service, which also makes the process easier if a new roof is also needed.

ADT Solar has a proven track record (as Sunpro), but the acquisition is also driving change for some companies. It will be interesting to see if anything changes as the new corporate relationship takes hold. It was difficult to get pricing information from ADT Solar.

Read our ADT Solar review.

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So far, Trinity Solar has narrowly missed the top spot in our rankings. It offers quality solar panels, a selection of quality batteries and multiple inverter options. It also offers buy-and-lease or power purchase agreement options.

Although customer service is hard to pin down, Trinity Solar has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (which only gives companies ratings if they pay a fee). Trinity was very responsive to complaints on this platform. A caveat to the customer service praise is that Trinity’s manufacture warranty is inferior to others, only extending to 10 years.

Read our Trinity Solar review.

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Tesla’s solar arm appears to be the least favorite of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s solar roof seems to be getting more love. Still, Tesla’s solar panels are probably the cheapest option where available. You can save thousands of dollars without sacrificing quality equipment.

What you might sacrifice is customer service. From delays to price changes, slow responses, system malfunctions, social media reports of negative experiences aren’t hard to come by, including some who regret their choice. That’s true for all solar companies, but the amount of reporting about Tesla is concerning. Others describe experiences that aren’t so bad, of course. The general consensus is that going with Tesla is a gamble.

Read our Tesla Solar review.

Other companies we have reviewed

We’ve reviewed other solar companies that don’t appear in our top list above, including some that scored higher overall than Tesla’s solar panels. Given the nature of the solar panel industry, which moves from state to state and rooftop to rooftop, some of these other companies might be better suited to your situation.

  • sunrun: The largest solar company in America. Sunrun offers quality panels, a choice of a few batteries, and quality inverters. It also offers strong guarantees. Most of its business is in leases or power purchase agreements, and Sunrun offers stronger guarantees for power purchase agreements than for purchases. Its overall score is higher than Tesla’s, but narrowly missed the others due to the lack of a price-matching policy.
  • Tesla Solar Roof: Tesla’s Solar Roof is an exciting way to imagine solar. It’s elegant, it’s discreet, but it’s very expensive. Depending on the size of your roof and your location, this can be several times more expensive than solar panels.
  • smart flower: The solar sunflower is a nice way to install solar panels. Unless you’re trying to advertise your green commitments or find a centerpiece for your garden, it’s probably too much money for too little solar power.

How We Evaluate Solar Companies

Solar companies are difficult to test. Even if it were possible to install each installer’s solar panels on a single house one at a time and compare them, weather and seasonal variations would affect production. You would still be left with the subjective ratings of customer service, which is a major factor in the experience of getting solar panels for a roof.

Even without lab testing for solar panel companies, we’ve kept our review as standardized as possible. We have categorized solar companies into three categories: breadth of service, value, and customer service. Scope of service covers things like whether or not a company offers a variety of quality panels, batteries or inverters and whether they offer panels for purchase, rental and contract. purchase of electricity. It also takes into account the strength of the guarantees. The value covers the price and any other benefits, for example, a popular app for customers to monitor their solar panels. Customer service included anecdotal evidence from online forums and review sites, but also customer satisfaction and service ratings (where available) from reputable sources such as the Better Business Bureau.

Solar Panel FAQs

How long do solar panels last?

If you buy solar panels today, chances are they will be under warranty for 20 to 25 years. You will often see that this corresponds to the lifespan of the panels, but it is not entirely accurate. This warranty covers the production of your solar panels. Solar panels lose their ability to generate solar electricity as they age for a number of reasons, so a warranty will guarantee a certain level of output after a certain number of years. For example, Q Cells offers a 25-year warranty, which guarantees that your panels will produce at 86% of their rated capacity at that time.

This does not mean that these solar panels die after 25 years, they will simply produce less. Solar panels can produce well after their warranty expires, but since a large number of solar panels have just been installed, we will continue to have a better idea of ​​how they are aging in the years to come.

How do I know if the quote I have is good?

The best way to find out is to get several quotes. With such a large purchase, you should get several, including one or two from local installers who might be able to give you more choice.

There are also resources from the federal government and many state governments to guide you through the process. You can also look for a few red flags from sellers.

Can I benefit from the federal tax credit?

The federal tax credit for solar panels still exists. For any solar panel installed in 2022, the federal government will reimburse you 26% of the cost on your income taxes. In 2023, the credit drops to 22% and is expected to disappear in the following years. An extension of the tax credit is always possible.

Besides the federal tax credit, there may be state and local incentives you can take advantage of.

More solar coverage from CNET


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